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International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)

Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

Effects of Explicit Instruction on Reading Fluency


Skills of Primary Pupils in Jos East Local
Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria
Professor Rahila P. Gowon, Olufunmilayo Victoria Owolabi

Abstract— The ability to decode text effortlessly and to recognize words automatically is crucial to text
comprehension. Most children will need intentional and systematic instruction in order to develop these
reading fluency skills. The present study examined the effects of explicit instruction on reading fluency skills
among 124 primary four pupils in four public primary schools. To gather data for this study, Reading Fluency
Test (RFT) was used. The RFT measured the three reading fluency skills: word recognition, decoding and
prosody. Analyses of data gathered using the t-test dependent sample revealed that explicit instruction
improved reading fluency skills of pupils. These results confirm that improvements in reading fluency skills of
pupils are related to intentional instruction as found in explicit instruction. One implication of the study is that
teachers should be intentional in improving the reading fluency skills of pupils at the primary level of
education.
Keywords— decoding, explicit instruction, reading fluency, word recognition, prosody.

I. INTRODUCTION (UBE, 2009) underscores the importance of teaching reading


Reading is the process through which a reader gains as a fundamental instructional focal point in schools.
meaning from text. The ability to read is, therefore, essential
for academic learning because it is the foundation for success II. BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT OF THE
in all academic subjects. In today’s society, lack of reading PROBLEM
proficiency can engender risks of facing huge economic,
English language plays an important role at the
social and personal limitations because the world is driven by
primary level of education in Nigeria, consequently, the
print information which can be largely accessed through
ability to read and comprehend text by pupils at this level is
reading. Consequently, the outcomes for children and
crucial. Comprehension builds on reading fluency skills and
sometimes adults who struggle with reading include school
once reading fluency skills become automatic, readers’
dropout, low self–esteem, unemployment, lack of proper
cognitive attention can be focused on making meaning from
social functionality and economic stagnation.
text. Thus, reading fluency can be used to estimate the
According to the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2014), overall comprehension achievement of readers.
English language is the medium of instruction in schools
Research has shown that pupils struggle to read and
from primary four upwards in Nigeria. This means that all
have challenges with text comprehension due to lack of
textbooks in the different content areas, apart from the
reading fluency skills (Rasinski, Homan & Biggs, 2009;
language of the immediate environment and French, are
Bigozzi, Tarchi, Vagnoli, Valente & Pinto, 2017). Reading
written in English language. Hence, pupils’ ability to read
fluency, the ability to read a text (orally or silently) quickly,
proficiently in English language such that will enable them to
accurately with proper expression and comprehension, is
access and comprehend academic information from print
critical to successful reading. Fluent reading is an indicator
written English language is critical. Similarly, the inclusion
that all is going well in the reading repertoire of a pupil.
of reading as a subject to be taught at the basic level of
Thus, if a pupil reads in a laborious manner, slowing or
education by the Universal Basic Education scheme of work
stopping to decode words, he or she will lose understanding
ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1573
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

of what is being read. Reading experts (Pikulski& Chard, Jenson, 2014). Explicit instruction is a teaching approach
2005; Alvarez-Canizo, Suarez-Coalla&Cuetos, 2015) agree which allows for modeling, group and independent practices
that reading fluency is made up of three components, as well as explanations of goals and objectives when teaching
namely: word decoding, word recognition and text prosody. skills to learners. Explicit instruction ensures that teachers
These components serve as essential parts of comprehension are fully responsible for teaching important skills but they
in that, if any of these components is lacking in the reading gradually relinquish this responsibility to learners as they
process, comprehension may not occur. become successful with these skills. Hence, through teacher
Decoding (or word identification) is the ability of a reader to modeling, guided and independent practices, learners become
accurately read words by translating written symbols into the fluent with skills that have been taught.
sounds of spoken language and then making sense of the In order to address the challenges of reading
identified word. Decoding words involves taking apart the underachievement among primary school pupils, reading
sounds in a word (segmenting skills) and putting these fluency skills need to be taught systematically and
sounds together (blending skills) in order to be able to read intentionally. Teaching children to read fluently in order to
such words accurately. Pupils who can accurately decode comprehend text should be one of the main goals of primary
words can easily make sense of what they read. education because the success of formal education hinges
Another reading fluency skill is word recognition. greatly on the ability to read fluently and to comprehend text.
Word recognition is the ability to recognize written words Therefore, reading fluency skills need to be explicitly taught
effortlessly without having to sound them out. Word to children in primary schools.
recognition skills are denoted by reading sight words Aim and Objectives
automatically or effortlessly with minimal amount of The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of
mistakes. Some words in English cannot be decoded through explicit instruction on reading fluency skills of primary four
segmenting and blending sounds or through syllabication. pupils in Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Rather, pupils learn to recognize such words automatically or Three primary research questions (RQ) and three null
effortlessly through repeated exposure to those words. These hypotheses informed the direction of this work.
words are called “sight words” or “high frequency words”.
Research Questions
When readers automatically recognize these words, they
become more fluent readers. RQ 1. What are the word recognition achievement mean
scores of primary four pupils before and after exposure to
Lack of effective methodology of teaching reading
explicit instruction?
fluency skills in primary schools may be a major reason for
the high non-fluent reading rate among primary school pupils RQ 2. What are the word decoding achievement mean scores
in Nigeria. Lack of appropriate teaching methodology is one of primary four pupils before and after exposure to explicit
major cause of reading failure among pupils in primary instruction?
school (Oyetunde,2009; Abu-Ubaida, Amina, RQ 3.What is the prosody achievement mean score of
Aishatu&Abubakar, 2017). Basically, teachers’ method of primary four pupils before and after exposure to treatment?
teaching reading consists of round-robin reading, where
Hypotheses
students who can read well take turns to read in the
classroom. Little or no systematic instructional strategy or Hn 1. There is no significant difference between the word
methodology is offered to help non-fluent readers to read recognition achievement mean scores of pupils who are
more fluently. This traditional approach to teaching reading taught using explicit instruction and those who are not.
merely tests students’ reading abilities rather than teach them Hn 2. There is no significant difference between the word
(Urquhart & Weir, 2013) and it does not address the reading decoding achievement mean scores of pupils who are
needs of struggling readers. explicitly instructed and those not taught using explicit
However, there is evidence shown by research that instruction.
when teachers provide explicit instruction in reading fluency Hn 3. There is no significant difference between the prosody
to non-fluent readers, reading fluency increases and text achievement mean scores of primary four pupils who are
comprehension improves (Rupley, Blair & Nichols, 2009;

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1574
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

taught using explicit instruction and those who are not taught The inclusion of instructional strategies and
using explicit instruction. methodology in any reading definition is important because
Delimitation and Scope of Study of the complex nature of the reading process for both first
language readers (L1 readers) and second language readers
This research work was restricted to the effects of explicit
(L2 readers). Over time, the complexity of the reading
instruction on reading fluency skills of primary four pupils in
process for L1 readers reduces based on their implicit
public schools in Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau
knowledge of the basic syntactic knowledge of the language,
State. Explicit instruction can be used to teach different
oral proficiency and instructional practices that both sustain
concepts in various content areas. However, this study was
and further develop these background reading skills. On the
restricted to the effects of explicit instruction on pupils’
other hand, reading in L2 requires “much time, resources and
reading fluency skills. The study covered all reading fluency
effort” (Carrell &Grabe 2010, p. 216). This provides the
components, namely word decoding, word recognition and
basis for the inclusion of instructional practices and
prosody.
methodology in reading definitions, especially with regard to
Theoretical Framework reading in L2.
The Automaticity Theory of Reading Fluency developed by
Laberge and Samuels (1974) underpinned this study. The
Importance of Reading Fluency to Comprehension
theory, which was drawn from various cognitive research,
Achievement
shows that the human brain has limited attention capacity and
the ability to perform two complex tasks at the same time The basic purpose of reading fluency instruction is to make it
requires one of the tasks to become automatic (Penner- as easy as possible for students to comprehend text. This is
Wilger, 2008). The word ‘automaticity’ means the ability to especially important because word-by-word reading, poor
recognize and process information without really thinking phrasing, and lack of expression all diminish students’ ability
about such information on a conscious level. Automaticity, to understand text. In view of this, Allington (2014) argues
therefore, is a skill that humans are not born with but develop that many fluency problems are “instructionally induced and
as they continue to learn. By way of application, automaticity instructionally maintained”. This means that whether reading
in reading means effortless and accurate reading of words fluency difficulties will be addressed or sustained depends on
aloud or silently with appropriate rate. the availability of instructional interventions. For instance,
Don-Ezenne (2014) sought to identify and analyze problems
of word recognition in reading among Basic eight (J.S 2)
III. LITERATURE REVIEW students in Gwalada and Kwali Area Councils of Federal
The concept of reading is quite broad and it has drawn much Capital Territory, Abuja. The study adopted a descriptive
attention globally by reading researchers. Reading experts survey research design while the population consisted of
have, at different times, attempted to define reading. Indeed, 4,535 basic 8 (J.S 2) students. The instruments used for data
these definitions of reading have provided various collection were questionnaire, interviews, observations as
frameworks for teaching reading in schools as well as what well as researcher-developed English language reading
should be included in reading programs or reading curricula. passages. Data gathered was analyzed using Frequency and
Some of these definitions include: “Reading is the ability to Mean while t-test was employed to test the hypotheses for
pronounce sounds” (Foertsh, 1998), “Reading is the ability to the study. Findings of the study include errors in word
identify words and get their meaning (bottom-up recognition during reading by junior secondary students and
processing)” (Grabe, 2009) and “Reading is the ability to male students had more problems with word recognition
bring meaning into a text in order to extract meaning from it during reading than female students.
(top-down processing)” (Aina, Ogungbemi, Adigun Many pupils in primary schools have not developed
&Ogundipe, 2011). Torgesen (2002), however, puts all these reading fluency skills because they have not been taught
definitions of reading together by positing that reading intentionally. Reading fluency is considered a critical
entails the ability to identify words used to convey meaning component of skilled reading (Marshall & Campbell, 2006)
as well as the ability to construct meaning from the identified and should therefore receive a deliberate instructional
words in print. attention especially at the primary level of education. Fluent

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1575
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

reading should be a major goal of reading instruction because focus systematic instructional efforts on developing reading
decoding print effortlessly and accurately enables students to fluency skills in pupils at the primary level. Children who
read for meaning. have significant reading challenges also have difficulties with
Usually, what differentiates fluent and non-fluent readers is developing reading fluency and they continue to be slow
much more than fluency skills; it encompasses readers into adulthood, if intervention is not given (Vaughn
comprehension achievement as well. Fluent readers read text &Bos, 2009). Grabe (2009) further elaborates the importance
in meaningful units, and are able to accompany reading with of teaching reading fluency skills to children especially in L2
appropriate expression. Since fluent readers are able to context when he states that:
decode text and make necessary corrections or substitutions, Fluency is what allows a reader to experience a much
they can devote more cognitive attention to drawing meaning larger amount of L2 input, to expand the breadth and depth
from texts. On the other hand, non-fluent readers read of vocabulary knowledge beyond direct instruction, to
slowly and because they read each word as a single unit, the develop automatic word recognition skills, to read for
flow of the passage is hampered (Agbo, Kadiri&Ekwueme, additional learning, to build reading motivation, and in L2
2019). Non-fluent readers spend so much time on decoding university contexts, to read large amounts of materials that
unfamiliar words and as a result, they have trouble might be assigned every week. Moreover, fluency is one of
comprehending what they are reading. Often times, non- the keys to L2 learning outside the classroom (Grabe, 2009,
fluent readers need a great deal of support from teachers even p. 301).
when reading class-appropriate materials (Kreitz, 2015). In sum, a growing body of research supports the claim that
Shaywitz in Grabe (2009) argues that “fluency is what binds reading fluency creates a bridge to comprehension
a reader to the text. If a child cannot effortlessly decode a (LaBerge& Samuels, 1974; Rasinski, Homan & Biggs, 2008;
critical mass of words on a page, he or she cannot engage the Hudson, Lane & Pullen, 2005; Fuchs & Fuchs, Hosp, 2001;
text” (p. 304). Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp& Jenkins, 2009; Pikulski& Chad, 2005;
The assertion of Shaywitz gives rise to two Linan-Thompson & Vaughn; Bigozzi, Tarchi,Vagnoli,
important facts: non-fluent readers cannot decode words; Valente & Pinto, 2017) and that reading fluency instruction
non-fluent readers are, therefore, not committed to reading. helps to develop rapid and accurate reading of words in
This deficiency has far reaching implications on the child’s connected texts. Reading fluency is one of the sub-skills of
willingness to stay in school. Even if the non-fluent reader reading that the National English Studies Curriculum for the
stays in school, he or she cannot access academic primary level has identified as a necessary skill for reading
information which is found mostly in books. Hence, proficiency (Basic Education Curriculum, 2012). How then
academic achievement will become unattainable. should reading fluency, an important component of the
reading process, be taught?
Hernandez’s (2012) study corroborates the fact that reading
fluency skills have far-reaching effects on academic Explicit Instruction as a Teaching Method
motivation of learners. The longitudinal study, with a sample It has been mentioned earlier in this review that pupils
size of 3,957 students, investigated high school graduation with reading fluency difficulties require an intense and
rates for children at different skills levels and with different systematic form of instruction. Explicit instruction is a
poverty rates. The study found that students who cannot read “systematic method of teaching with emphasis on proceeding
grade level texts by third grade are five times less likely to in small steps, checking for students’ understanding and
graduate by age nineteen than a child who is a fluent reader achieving active and successful participation by all students”
by that time. This outcome is supported by Oyetunde (2002), (Rosenshine, 1987, p. 34; Archer & Hughes, 2011). Since
when he opines that school dropout can also be as a result of most learners will not become independent readers ‘with the
one’s inability to read. passage of time’, they need to be taught how to read fluently
Perhaps, one major reason why Nigeria has the highest through systematic methods (Odeniyi & Folorunsho, 2017).
number of school dropouts, almost a fifth of the world’s out- The principle that governs explicit instruction is that teaching
of-school children, (UNESCO, Education for All Global should be clear in order to quickly accelerate students’
Monitoring Report, 2013) can be traced to reading fluency learning and it should include many opportunities for
challenges. It is therefore most compelling for teachers to practicing new skills learnt in order to attain mastery of such

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1576
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

skills. Explicit teaching involves a lot of modelling of the Procedure


target skills by the teacher, many opportunities for practice The pre-test was administered for two days. Day one was
and assessment to verify whether re-teaching is needed or for testing word decoding. A list of fifty non-words was read
not. by pupils for one minute to test decoding skills in pupils. Day
Explicit instruction has been supported by research as a two was used for testing word recognition. A list of one
method of teaching that can be used to improve reading skills hundred sight words was given to pupils to test sight word
among students of English as a second language and students recognition skills of pupils in isolated context. Pupils read
who are at-risk for reading difficulties (Carlson & Francis, this list of sight words in two minutes.
2002; Reutzel, Child, Jones & Clark, 2014). Recent research Administration of Treatment Program
suggests that explicit and systematic instruction improves
Treatment was administered by the researcher in two
students’ reading fluency skills. For instance, Nelson-
experimental schools. Treatment consisted of reading fluency
Walker, Fien, Kosty, Smolkowsky, Smith and Baker (2013)
lessons that were taught through explicit instruction. Explicit
investigated the relationship between the quality of reading
reading fluency instruction included oral fluency strategies
instruction and reading achievement of at-risk and not-at-risk
like partner readings, modeling by teacher and independent
students in 42 first grade classrooms. One group of teacher
fluency activities that were carried out by pupils in groups
was trained in explicit instruction protocols while the other
while the control groups did not receive any reading fluency
continued with regular practice. Results showed that classes
instruction. Rather, pupils in the control group were taught
whose teachers received training on explicit instruction
normal English language lessons during their periods.
protocols scored higher on fluency skills.
Treatment lasted for twelve weeks. Each reading fluency
lesson lasted for thirty five minutes.
IV. METHOD AND PROCEDURE Administration of Post-Test
Design, Population and Sample The researcher administered post-test on the
The quasi-experimental research design was used in the participants in both the experimental and control groups after
current study. Specifically, the study adopted the pre-test the treatment. The post-test was the same duration of time
posttest non-equivalent comparison group design. The and day as the pre-test. The text and words used during the
population of this study included all primary four pupils pre-test were used to check for accuracy in word recognition,
attending public schools in Jos East Local Government Area decoding and prosody.
in Plateau State. The population of all primary four pupils in Analyses
Jos East Local Government is one thousand nine hundred and
The research questions formulated for this study were
ninety seven (1,997) out of which nine hundred and eighty
answered using frequency counts and simple percentages
five (985) are males while one thousand and twelve (1,012)
derived from the pre-test and posttest administered on pupils.
are females. The sample for the study consisted of 124
The mean scores were subjected to t-test for dependent
pupils that were in primary four at the time of the study in the
samples at 0.05 significance level. By this, the significant
designated schools.
differences between the experimental and control groups in
Instruments the pre-test and posttest were determined.
The Reading Fluency Test (RFT) was used to gather Research Question One
data for this study. The RFT measured three reading fluency
What are the word recognition achievement mean
skills: word recognition, decoding and prosody. The RFT
scores of primary four pupils before and after exposure to
was adopted and adapted from three sources; Early Grade
explicit instruction? This research question was answered
Reading Assessment (EGRA, 2011), Umolu and Mallam’s
using the mean and standard deviation (SD) of the pupils’
sight words (1985) and Rasinski’s Multidimensional Fluency
word recognition achievement scores. The results are
scale for measuring prosody which was adapted by the
presented in Table 1.
researcher to include only two prosody rubrics namely,
intonation and punctuation.

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1577
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

Table 1: Word Recognition Mean Scores of Primary Four Pupils before and after Treatment for Experimental and Control
Groups
S/N Group Pre-test Post-test
No. χ SD No. χ SD Mean
diff.
1. Experimental 70 3.74 5.01 70 28.7 21.6 24.96

2. Control 54 8.87 11.4 54 12.5 13.9 3.63

Table 1 presents pupils’ word recognition achievement mean significantly in word recognition achievement profile as
scores of both experimental and control groups before and shown in the pretest and posttest. The results, therefore, show
after explicit instruction. The experimental groups had a that explicit instruction significantly impacted pupils’ word
mean score of 3.74 and SD of 5.01 at pretest. On the other recognition profile of the pupils exposed to treatment.
hand, the control groups had a higher mean score of 8.87 and
SD of 11.4 at pretest. At posttest, the mean of the control
Research Question 2
groups was 12.5 while SD = 13.9. The mean of the
experimental group at posttest was 28.6 while SD = 21.7. What are the word decoding achievement mean scores of
This shows that a significant difference exists between the primary four pupils before and after exposure to explicit
pre-test and posttest mean scores and standard deviation of instruction?
the control and experimental groups. After treatment, results In order to answer this research question, the mean and
of the posttest for the experimental groups indicate an standard deviation (SD) of the pupils’ decoding achievement
increase in pupils’ word recognition achievement profile. scores were used and the results are presented in Table 2.
The results also show that the control groups did not increase

Table 2: Decoding Mean Scores of Primary Four Pupils before and after Treatment for Experimental and Control Groups
S/N Group Pre-test Post-test
No. χ SD No. χ SD Mean
diff.
1. Experimental 70 3.92 5.22 70 20.7 11.8 16.78
2. Control 54 4.38 6.80 54 5.37 7.20 0.99

Table 2 indicates that pupils’ word decoding profiles for both primary four pupils’ decoding achievement profile after
experimental and control groups at pretest were poor. While treatment.
the control groups had a mean score of 4.38 and SD = 6.80,
the experimental groups had a mean score of 3.92 and SD =
Research Question 3
5.22. However, the experimental groups recorded some gains
as indicated in their mean score and standard deviation at What is the prosody achievement mean score of primary four
pupils before and after exposure to treatment?
posttest ( χ = 20.7; SD = 11.8). The mean score of the
experimental group was statistically different from the mean To answer this research question, the mean scores and
standard deviation of pupils’ prosodic achievement scores
score of the control group at posttest ( χ = 5.37; SD = 7.20). were computed. The results are presented in Table 3.
This shows that explicit instruction significantly improved

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1578
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

Table 3: Prosody Mean Scores of Primary Four Pupils Before and After Treatment for Experimental and Control Groups
S/N Group Pre-test Post-test
No. χ SD No. χ SD Mean diff.

1. Experimental 70 1.94 3.37 70 7.45 6.93 5.51


2. Control 54 2.00 3.59 54 4.31 8.29 2.31

Table 3 shows that before explicit instruction, both 4.31; SD = 8.29) show that the prosody profile of pupils in
the experimental and control groups had low scores in the both experimental and control groups before and after
prosody achievement ratings. However, after explicit treatment remained poor.
instruction, both experimental group and control group did Hypotheses
not make significant improvements in their prosody
Hypothesis One
achievement profiles as indicated by the mean scores and
standard deviation of both groups. The experimental groups 1. There is no significant difference between the word
had a mean score of 1.94 with SD of 3.37 at pre-test. The recognition achievement mean scores of pupils who are
control groups had a mean score of 2.00 and SD of 3.59 at explicitly instructed and those not taught using explicit
pre-test. Similarly, the posttest mean scores and SD of the instruction.
experimental group ( χ = 7.45; SD = 6.93) as well as the This hypothesis was tested using the t-test for
independent samples and the result is presented in Table 4.
posttest mean scores and SD of the control groups ( χ =

Table 4: Result of t-Test Analysis for Difference between the Posttest Word Recognition Mean Scores of the Experimental and
Control Groups
Group Skill Test No. χ SD df t-cal p-value

Experimental Word Post- 70 28.71 21.64


Recognition test
Control Word Post- 54 12.5 13.95 122 -4.78 .000
Recognition test

Table 4 reveals that, for word recognition skills, the posttest scores of pupils who were taught using explicit instruction
mean score of the experimental group was significantly and those who were not explicitly instructed was upheld.
different than that of the control group. Where the control Hypothesis 2
groups had X = 12.5, the experimental groups had a mean
There is no significant difference between the word
score of 28.71 with df 122, t-calculated of –4.78 and the p
decoding achievement mean scores of pupils who are taught
value of .008. The p value of .000 is less than the level of
using explicit instruction and those who are not. This
significance, that is, 0.05. Therefore, the null hypothesis was
hypothesis was tested using t-test for independent samples
rejected, and the decision that there is a significant difference
and Table 4 shows the result.
between the posttest word recognition achievement mean

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1579
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

Table 5: Result of t-Test Analysis for Difference between the Posttest Decoding Mean Scores of Experimental and Control
Groups
Group Skill Test No. χ SD df t-cal p-value

Experimental Decoding Post-test 70 20.7 11.8


Control Decoding Post-test 54 5.37 7.20 122 -8.37 .000

Research hypothesis two reveals that a significant difference explicit instruction and those not taught using explicit
exists between the posttest word decoding achievement mean instruction.
score of both the control and experimental groups since the
control group had X = 5.37 while mean for experimental
Hypothesis 3
group = 20.7 with df = 122, t-cal = -8.37 and p = .000.
Hence, the null hypothesis is rejected since the data gathered There is no significant difference between the prosody
does not provide sufficient evidence to uphold it. The achievement mean scores of primary four pupils who are
experimental group recorded a mean score of 16.78 while the taught using explicit instruction and those who are not taught
control group had 0.99. Therefore, we conclude that a using explicit instruction. A t-test for independent samples
significant difference exists between the word decoding was used to test this hypothesis. The result is presented in
achievement mean scores of pupils who were taught using Table 6.

Table 6: Result of t-Test Analysis for Difference between the Posttest Prosody Mean Scores of Experimental and Control Groups
Group Skill Test No. χ SD df t-cal p-
value
Experimental Prosody Post-test 70 7.45 6.93
Control Prosody Post-test 54 4.31 8.29 122 -229 .971

Analysis of research hypothesis three shows the mean the word recognition profile of the experimental groups
scores of prosody achievement of the control and showed an increase in word recognition achievement of
experimental groups. The control group had a mean score of pupils while word recognition achievement profile of pupils
4.31 and the experimental group had a mean score of 7.45 in the control group did not change. This finding is in
while df = 122, t-cal = 2.29 and p value = .971. The analysis consonance with the studies of Young (2011), Nelson-
reveals that no significant difference exists between the Walker, Fien, Kosty, Smolkowsky, Smith and Baker (2013)
prosody achievement mean score of the control group and the and Akamatsu (2008) who found that explicit training on
experimental group on their posttest. Hence, we fail to reject reading fluency can significantly improve reading skills of
the hypothesis because our data did not provide sufficient pupils.
evidence to reject it. We, therefore, conclude that the Results obtained from research question two showed that
difference between the prosody achievement mean scores of both control and experimental groups recorded a low word
the control and experimental groups on the posttest was not decoding achievement profile at pre-test as both groups had a
significant. high percentage of pupils in the poor category. At posttest,
the experimental groups increased in word decoding skills
V. DISCUSSION while the control groups did not improve significantly. This
finding supports the research of Foorman, Francis, Fletcher,
The results from research question one reveal that word
Mehta and Schatschneider (1997) who found that explicit
recognition profile of both control and experimental groups
instruction improved decoding skills. It means that explicit
was mostly in the poor category. After treatment, however,
instruction will improve decoding skills in pupils and this

ISSN: 2456-7620
https://dx.doi.org/10.22161/ijels.55.35 1580
International Journal of English Literature and Social Sciences, 5(5)
Sep-Oct 2020 |Available online: https://ijels.com/

will have an impact on pupils’ overall reading fluency pupils at the primary level of education. The ability to read
abilities. fluently is one of the links to comprehension achievement.
The results from research question three showed that pupils’ When appropriate methodology that is systematic and which
prosody scores before exposure to treatment were poor as gives multiple opportunities to practice the skills that are
indicated by the pre-test scores for both control and taught is employed in teaching reading fluency, reading
experimental groups. This result supports the views of comprehension underachievement among pupils is greatly
Schawanenflugel, Hamilton and Stahl (2004) who found reduced.
through their study that prosody provides insights into Based on the significant gains recorded by the
readers’ overall reading achievement because prosody serves experimental group at posttest as compared to the control
as a predictor of comprehension skills. In this instance, group whose posttest scores did not significantly improve, it
pupils’ poor prosody achievement pointed to the fact that is clear from the findings that explicit instruction can have
they were deficient in comprehension skills. After exposure impact on reading fluency skills of pupils. Findings from the
to treatment, the prosody profile of the experimental group study also established that the mean gain scores which
did not differ significantly from that of the control group. reflected on the experimental group was as a result of
This result implies that, although prosodic expression can intentional, instructional engagement in reading skills
improve with explicit instruction, more instructional time through explicit method of teaching. One implication of these
may be needed to build prosodic skills in pupils than what findings is that teaching reading fluency should be done
was given during the research. intentionally at the basic level of education.
Results obtained from hypotheses one and two as presented
on Tables 4 and 5 showed that word recognition and
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